Who is this crazy person telling me to stop fixing things that are broken? Why is a company that diagnoses and fixes things as a business, telling me to stop fixing broken things?
Yes, we are in the service of fixing broken items, but more importantly we are in the service of stopping the reason why the failure happened in the first place!
If you are just fixing things as the break, you are in a vicious, never ending cycle where you are never getting ahead and will never stop the problems from coming back in the future. You must take a more encompassing approach and solve the root cause of the problem.
Let me be honest with you, This is a lot harder than it sounds. When a plant is down and management is demanding that production comes back online ASAP, its hard to slow down and figure out why you are in this position in the first place. It's alot easier to focus on the result of the issue, which is an item that failed. What is stopping the fixed unit or replacement unit from having the same issue in a month? a few months? a year? three years?
Simply getting the plant up and running is an answer, but it is not necessarily the correct long-term answer. Yes, if you solve the immediate issue and get the plant back on-line you typically look like a super hero; and many times you have no choice than to do the quickest option to get the plant up and running again. That's just life in the maintenance world. But what did you do afterwards? Did you implement a long-term plan to go into effect? What are you going to do differently?
There is always a way to dig into the issue deeper and take a different approach to the problem. Most the time it just requires you to get out of your comfort zone and look at things from a new angle. Vendors are a great resource here. Most vendors enjoy challenges and helping plants solve a problem for the long term. They typically have seen a variety of issues from other plants and can use this experience to help you solve the real problem. If they dont want to help you solve the problem, then they may not be the right vendor for you and if i were in your shoes i would be questioning their value.
In conclusion, i still stand by our title of this article. Its time to stop fixing what is broken and start fixing what caused it to break in the first place.
HECO - All Systems Go
About the author:
Justin Hatfield is Vice President of Operations at HECO. He is responsible for Electric Motor & Drive Sales, Electric Motor & Generator Repairs, Spare Solutions, and Predictive Services. Justin was instrumental in developing HECO MAPPS (Motor and Powertrain Performance Systems) which focuses on “why” you have a motor problem instead of simply “What” product or service should be recommended. HECO is an EASA Accredited Service Center for Electric Motors as well as a provider of predictive maintenance services and products throughout the United